Israel travel warning
Concern growing that Scots’ play-off may not go ahead
Risk: Steve Clarke (pic: SNS Group)
Concern is growing that Scotland’s upcoming Euro 2020 semi-final play-off against Israel could be postponed due to coronavirus.
Doubt has been cast on the crunch tie going ahead as normal at Hampden Park on 26 March after the Israeli government warned its citizens to avoid all international travel.
That could impact not only fans travelling to Glasgow for the game but also the players themselves.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke didn’t attend this week’s Nations League draw in Amsterdam, as it was deemed unnecessarily risky for him to do so.
Elsewhere, alarm bells have been ringing in Denmark after former international Thomas Kahlenberg was diagnosed with the virus after a trip to the Dutch capital.
The 36-year-old, who played in the 2010 World Cup, returned home to watch former club Brondby’s game against Lyngby on Sunday.
The Copenhagen club has since quarantined 13 people, including playing and coaching staff, who came into contact with Kahlenberg.
Scotland, who are bidding to reach the finals of their first major tournament since 1998, will face a trip to either Norway or Serbia for a place in this summer’s tournament should they overcome Israel.
UEFA, meanwhile, are keeping a watchful eye on the situation as the kick-off to Euro 2020 moves ever closer, Turkey scheduled to take on Italy in Rome on 12 June in the curtain-raiser.
Up to three million supporters could be on the move throughout Europe for the tournament with games being staged across a dozen cities.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “People’s health is much more important than any game. I wouldn’t exclude anything at this moment.
“That’s why we have to look at the situation and hope that it will decrease rather than increase. At the moment it looks like it is still increasing.
“If games have to be postponed or played without spectators until it is over, then we have to go through that.”
The virus has spread to nearly 90 countries with more than 90,000 cases reported.